7/25/14 KNBA News - U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, seek resources to meet needs as the Arctic changes
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure committee heard about growing maritime traffic in Arctic waters and the need for a heavy ice breaker for search and rescue, oil spill response, and law enforcement services. The U.S. Coast Guard said fiscal constraints don't allow it to build an ice breaker. The Navy testified ice breaking is outside its areas of responsibility. Despite USCG studies to the contrary, Alaska Rep. Don Young said he thinks leasing an ice breaker from the private sector could be done cost effectively. Committee chair Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, said building an ice breaker doesn't seem to be a high priority for the military, "because money is not being appropriated or set aside from the Navy's $15 billion acquisition budget." He said he will not hold any more committee hearings on the topic unless specifically requested by another member for a specific reason. Hunter also predicted the United States will be left behind as other countries begin developing Arctic resources.